DL coach: Jay Ratliff enhances flexibility

July, 24, 2011
7/24/11
10:25
AM ET
New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan made it clear during his winter meeting with Valley Ranch media that two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff won’t be changing positions.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Ratliff, who is considered undersized for a nose tackle at about 300 pounds, will line up over the center on a down-to-down basis.

Creativity ranks among Ryan’s best attributes. That quality can be enhanced with a unique athlete like Ratliff, who played some safety in high school, was originally a tight end at Auburn and broke into the NFL as a defensive end before becoming one of the league’s elite nose tackles.

“How you move your X’s around is kind of up to the guy doing the moving, and Rob has a great vision and view of his package,” new Cowboys defensive line coach Brian Baker told us Saturday during an appearance on ESPN 103.3’s The Football Show. “The thing I’m most excited about, being new to it, is the flexibility.

“One thing that we’ll be able to do is take a guy like Jay with his unique skill set and put him in the best position to win downs. That may [change] from week to week, depending on the opponent and who we can get him matched up with. Jay gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility in our package.”

Ryan and Co. can keep opponents guessing on where Ratliff will be before the snap. If the scheming works, Ratliff ought to be easy to find in the backfield on a consistent basis.

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